Finally, it's showtime!

With the preliminary round out of the way, we are down to the Elite Eight in four brackets of the North Coast Section soccer playoffs today. That’s 32 teams that will be sliced to 16 by 11 tonight.

It won’t be easy for any of them … or will it? Some of the matchups appear to be mismatches on paper, but it doesn’t always work out that way. The last two men’s champions – Novato (’07) and Maria Carrillo (’06) – were No. 5 seeds and the Carrillo champs played all four of their games on the road on the way to the title. So, visiting teams today can take heart in knowing it can be done.

All that said, here are your NCS Class 3A predictions for today:

MEN’S GAMES

PREDICTION: (at) Maria Carrillo 4, Analy 1

Pumas just too deep all over the field for the Tigers. Like most teams, Analy will probably “pack it in” defensively and eventually that won’t work.
FINAL: Maria Carrillo 2, Analy 0

PREDICTION: Montgomery 2, (at) Redwood 1

The Vikings will be more than ready for this one. They went to Novato and lost a heartbreaker a year ago. This will be an opportune time for Nico Spann to shine.
FINAL: Montgomery 2, Redwood 1

PREDICTION: (at) Windsor 3, Marin Catholic 2 (OT)

Huge hurdle and test for the Jags. If they pass this one, they’ll validate that stellar regular-season record and give them the confidence that they can win it all. This could be the best game of the day.
FINAL: Windsor 2, Marin Catholic 1 (OT)

PREDICTION: (at) Terra Linda 5, Arcata 2

Marin team wins this battle up north.

WOMEN’S GAMES

PREDICTION: (at) Casa Grande 6, Eureka 0

Gauchos were expecting to see a familiar face in Sonoma Valley for this game, but they get Eureka. It’ll really be a long trip home for the visitors after this game.
FINAL: Casa Grande 4, Eureka 0

PREDICTION: Santa Rosa 2, (at) Petaluma 1 (OT)

Trojans are hurting, Panthers are psyched. This would be a huge victory for the SR program and coach Nicole Miller. But it’ll be a battle.
FINAL: Petaluma 1, Santa Rosa 0

PREDICTION: (at) Montgomery 6, Windsor 0

Vikings hold back some against weaker teams during the regular season, but not in the postseason. The Jags certainly aren’t a weak team, but they aren’t in Montgomery’s class.
FINAL: Montgomery 4, Windsor 0

PREDICTION: (at) Maria Carrillo 4, Ursuline 2

Pumas are peaking at the right time. They won’t stop Tognetti tonight, but the Bears won’t halt the Puma offense either.
FINAL: Ursuline 2, Maria Carrillo 1